Searching for my writing mojo…

Damian and I taking a selfie in the Mini
05 December 2016

I lack confidence. I really like, and am proud of, about half of what I write. The other half makes me cringe; it makes me internally shrink. I don’t know how to walk this painful line of opposites, of pain and pleasure. I don’t know how to speak. I don’t know how to be me… all of me. I am a writer. I have finally, almost 50 years into my life, accepted this as fact, and to exist without that part of me is to live only half a life.

So, given that I only like about half of what I write and I’m not happy unless I write, I guess I had better learn to become one hell of an editor, separating the wheat of my own writing from its chaff. How hard could that be, right? 😉

December 7th, 2016 | General | 1 Comment -

For Sam

Well…. it only took two years, but I’ve finally added a blog post. And you’d think there would be more photos, but I haven’t been taking very many photos lately. I didn’t post any from Christmas because you have those on your hard drive. So here are the interesting ones from this past year, all four of them. 🙂

 

Lily and Clara

This is what happens when you leave a seven-year-old and a four-year-old
unattended in the bath for too long.
Lily and Clara – 17 March 2012

 

Lily and Nan 30 October 2012

Lily and Nan
30 October 2012

 

Damian_dino_park_03April2013

Damian in the Dino Park
03 April 2013

 

Lily 12 April 2013

Lily
12 April 2013

 

I have a few more really cute ones, but they have other children in them, and I really don’t like to post pictures of other children without their parents’ permission. So this is it.

I’m going to try to write more and take more photos. I’ve been really errant in my duties as the Texas-branch of the Woodings family journalist and photographer.

Thanks for the encouragement, Sam. 🙂

May 10th, 2013 | The Life of a Suburban Mommy | 1 Comment -

Lyrics

Lily and Damian sporting their chest tattoos.
11 November 2011

I think everyone has their favorite “amateur” singer on YouTube. I hate to use the word amateur because some of these folks are very talented and it feels disrespectful to downgrade their talent with a single word. But anyways, my favorite YouTube artist is, by far, katethegreat19 or Erutan (she goes by two names). I’ve downloaded most of her video game songs to my iPod and I’ve bought her self-produced and created CD. I love her music, her voice, and her will to produce and distribute her music.

I was recently listening to her arrangement of the Final Fantasy IX song “You’re Not Alone.” She didn’t write the tune, but she wrote the lyrics and the arrangement, plays all the instruments and sings. I am very romantic as I think many women are, and the lyrics she wrote are so romantic. I’m not linking the YouTube video because I think the FF IX footage set to the song distracts too much from the beauty of the song. If you’re curious, click on the play button below to listen:

[audio:http://www.angelsdesk.com/angel/audio/Youre_Not_Alone_katethegreat19.mp3]

My brother and I were discussing the power of lyrics just the other day. We were talking about Nirvana. Nirvana’s musical composition is powerful and Kurt Cobain’s voice is powerful. Both of these things carry an emotional depth that causes an emotional reaction in the listener. But the lyrics are crap. Even Kurt Cobain admitted that his lyrics were nonsense and he wrote them without thought. So Nirvana’s music lacks the depth, strength and power it could have achieved if they had taken that final step.

Matt and his brother Sam listen primarily to the melody whereas my brother, my cousin Justin and I all listen primarily to the lyrics. To us, the lyrics give the song meaning whereas the melody sets the mood. A perfect example would be “I Remain,” the song from The Prince of Persia by Alannis Morissette. The instruments and melody were obviously chosen to set the mood of a romanticized Middle East as Westerners have always painted it, and then the lyrics describe the relationship between Dastan and Tamina.

[audio:http://www.angelsdesk.com/angel/audio/I_Remain.mp3]

In my life, I’ve written one poem, but I’m pretty proud of it. It was written in a moment of deep pain and shame. Matt and I were both dating other people right before we got together, and we both got dumped (thankfully, or we wouldn’t have ended up together). Both of the people we were dating were crazy and, after we got over the pain and humiliation of getting dumped, we were grateful that they dumped us. But this is the poem I wrote just after getting dumped when I really wanted him back but I knew he was bad news:

Sugar-Coated Poisoned Candy

I feel his breath; I touch his skin.
There’s no one here but me.
We move together imitating
synchronicity.
I’m alone and he’s alone,
deep inside of me.
How I crave the saccharine taste
of dripping poisoned candy.

Lying in the dying promise
of the cold wet sheets.
Choking on the ashes
of false light and heat.
I’m alone and he’s alone,
sleeping next to me.
A cadaver breathes; the hole is filled
with salty poisoned candy.

It could be touched up a bit here and there (the cadence is off in the second verse, and the word “cadaver” is too cliche in a tortured love poem), but overall I’m pleased with my moment of pain creating art.

I didn’t upload anymore Halloween photos because they really are crap and Matt said the ones I posted did a good enough job getting the point across. Hopefully I’ll be a better flash photographer by next Halloween and can do the holiday more justice. Now I need to get decent photos of all the Christmas lights to post. They are things that the Brits do better than us, and there are things that we do better than the Brits. And our Christmas lights are quite impressive.

November 11th, 2011 | General | No Comments -

Halloween Photos!

I’ve had several requests for Halloween pictures. I’m sorry it took so long, but I am a Photoshop junkie so I manipulate and crop the photos before I upload them, and that took awhile. Hopefully they are worth the wait.

Damian was a dragon, but he did not wear his mask or wings.
Lily was a pink cat.
31 October 2011

Lily saved her money for three months to purchase this wig.
It is a very fun wig.
31 October 2011

This was the very first house, and the kids
are already dipping into the candy.
31 October 2011

We all met at Uncle Rick’s house. Rick ordered pizza, and we
had a great time. The neighborhood was packed with children
trick-or-treating and many of the houses were decorated
like this yard is.
31 October 2011

The adults at this house were having a great time with all
the little kids coming to trick-or-treat.

Clara was a pink Batgirl. There were quite a few Batgirls.
Batgirl is popular.

Cody didn’t dress up but I think he’s scary enough. 🙂

I’m not sure what Logan is dressed as, but his was
the biggest hit. The green lines glowed in the dark.

Lily being a kitty, and
Damian being a dragon.

Adam looked great. 🙂

After trick-or-treating, all the children dumped their candy out
and started trading. After everyone finished the trading,
one of the kids said, “Any candy you don’t like, throw it
into someone else’s pile!”

Clara with her haul for the evening.

Clara is very pleased with her loot. 🙂

A top view of the kids sorting through their candy.

We had a very good time. Rick’s neighborhood was really into the spirit of Halloween.

Matt wants to upload some more photos of the houses. I felt that many of the photos weren’t that great, but Matt said that England doesn’t do Halloween on the scale that Americans do, and he wanted to post the photos for the Brits to see. My flash skills are incredibly weak, and the Halloween night photos really highlight that weakness. But I’ll ask Matt which photos he would like to upload, and I’ll put them on the next post.

As a hardcore hobbyist photographer, it’s very interesting to see my weaknesses in photography accentuated so strongly. It shows exactly where I need practice and improve.

November 4th, 2011 | Photography, The Life of a Suburban Mommy | 1 Comment -

Long time, no blog

Damian and Lily carving jack-o-lanterns with Daddy
30 October 2011





I don’t handle stress well. I could never do Matt’s job because I do not perform under pressure. I hole up in the fetal position and weather it like a natural disaster, praying for it to pass soon.

Matt and I have been under a lot of pressure because we are carrying the burden of two mortgages at the moment. But the old house is on the market now and we actually have an offer on it. Hopefully everything will go well over the next few weeks, and this fellow will actually buy the house and we can then concentrate on the new house.

And that’s why there have been no blog entries. It’s hard to write a blog entry when you’re emotionally stuck in the fetal position. 🙂

But with a contract on the old house, things are looking up. It’ll be nice to have only one house to focus on instead of two houses in two different cities.

On a side note, my sister and her children got a new puppy, but they can’t pick him up until Christmas. So, for the next two months, Smokey (another chihuahua — Spikey’s brother, in fact) will be staying with us. He’s very cute and sweet. We just need to get through his house training and he’ll be a really great dog.

Spikey and Smokey
30 October 2011

Smokey
30 October 2011

October 31st, 2011 | General | No Comments -

I am a writer

Damian and Lily swinging at the park
July 2011

I finally realized that I am a writer because I finally realized what a writer is. A writer is not someone who has published a book. A writer is not someone who makes their living from writing although that certainly seems like a good definition. A writer isn’t even someone who can necessarily write well.

No. A writer is someone who thrives by writing. Someone who, if they don’t write, feels a painful, unfulfilled longing pulsing from everywhere. We may write poorly. We may never be published. But we only thrive by putting our ideas, feelings, stories and thoughts to paper. Writing is how we communicate, learn and grow.

So, there it is. Finally, at the age of 43, a personal admission and acknowledgement of a part of myself that I have long belittled. “Oh, I’m not a writer. I’m not good enough. I’ve never been published. Blah blah blah.” Whatever. If I want to be happy, then I have to write.

July 19th, 2011 | Writing | 1 Comment -

Interpretation

I’m going to drop my angst-filled posts for a moment and step into the anti-war political arena. (All of sudden my blog has become very heavy. I’ll lighten things up as soon as I get my head sorted out.)

My husband and I listen to music in two very different ways. He listens to the melody and I listen to the lyrics. That’s why even if a song has a great tune, if the lyrics are utter crap, I have a hard time listening to it. The lyrics will annoy me until I turn it off in frustration.

I recently stumbled upon 009 Sound System’s song “Born to Be Wasted” on YouTube. There are two interpretations to this song: 1) Getting high on drugs, driving fast, living free and hard, getting your kicks, etc as a personal philosophy on how to live life. There are plenty of songs like this that speak to youth, and I find the concept shallow. Living fully, truthfully and passionately is extremely difficult, and I think, the much more noble and worthwhile journey. Drugs and fast cars are cop outs.

The second interpretation of the song as an anti-war message has much more significant meaning and actually makes the lyrics quite poetic and deeply meaningful. Here is a comment left on a lyrics site by Frantazle:

I think that this song refers to young kids being ‘wasted’ as in killed. The army gets them when they’re young and then shits them out.

As a song about drugs and fast living, the lyrics are generic. As a song about disposable soldiers, the lyrics are brilliant, sad and poignant. I couldn’t find an interview with Alexander Perls, the man who wrote and performed the song, so you will have to make your own interpretation. I’ve linked a homemade YouTube video from someone who took it as a war song, and the lyrics are below that.

oh the beat’s gonna bash gonna break it up
this car’s goin’ fast gonna speed it up
the night’s not gonna last so let’s keep it up
we were born to be wasted

oh the rock’s not gonna stop so let’s rip it up
the beats are gonna drop you can trip em’ up
your mind is on fire but it’s not enough
we were born to be wasted

baby out loud
knew that it would come to this
ain’t worth livin
if u can’t get your kicks

oh the rock’s not gonna stop so let’s rip it up
the beats are gonna drop you can trip em’ up
your mind is on fire but it’s not enough
we were born to be wasted

this gun’s blowin up it’s just a warning shot
this plane’s takin’ off on a terror run
this night’s gonna end like a missile drop
we were born to be wasted

March 23rd, 2011 | General | 2 Comments -

My Personal Midlife Crisis Defined in Elegant Terms

Damian and Lily playing with toy swords
17 March 2011

My life is mundane as FUCK! There. I’ve said it. And I’ve said it with a big bold cuss word so that there is no misinterpretation of the sentiment or the intensity.

I know what a midlife crisis is now. I’ve found my true love. I have the two kids. I have the dogs and the SUV, and very shortly, I will have the 3000 square foot house with the white picket fence. I’ve done everything that we set out for ourselves as responsible and reliable adults, or at least what is expected of us as responsible and reliable adults that we buy into completely. It’s the stuff of movies.

But what happens after the housewife moves into the 3000 square foot house in the suburbs to care for the children and the home? The movie ends after the purchase of the dream home. And the only movies they make after the dream is achieved all concern disaffected, disillusioned housewives leaving their husbands and children to find their soul again in Italy.

My personal midlife crisis involves lack of romance and excitement, lack of personal belief or vision. My ego has been mined out and replaced with the needs of the family as a unit. Each day is a monotonous repeat of the previous day, filled with housework and childcare. Everyday is a thousand yesterdays.

And I want off this fucking train. But I don’t want to leave my husband and children or move to Italy (Nothing against Italy or the Italians — they are awesome. I can understand why Italy is always the chosen home for the resuscitation of the soul.)

I haven’t figured out the answer to this puzzle, but it requires a bold statement. A commitment of the magnitude that only children conceive of because they don’t know that it’s impossible. And their ignorance, naivety, and joy then make the impossible possible. The kind of dream that you lose in your teens or twenties when embarrassment and social understanding curb your faith, worth, and excitement.

I’m tired. I’m tired of hurting all of the time because I have abandoned an important part of myself to live the housewife American dream. Tonight I sketch out ideas of reclamation. Tonight I embrace the socially awkward, geeky, excited, ambitious, silly, awesome part of myself. Tonight I reclaim my ego.

March 20th, 2011 | The Life of a Suburban Mommy | 5 Comments -

Why I ♥ Photoshop

I will let the photos speak for Photoshop.

The first photo is straight from the camera without any Photoshop manipulation:

Damian and Lily
17 March 2011

The second photo has been processed through the Photoshop Magic Machine:

Damian and Lily
17 March 2011

For those interested, I used a Brightness/Contrast layer with a gradient sunburst to create the darkened edges. Then another Brightness/Contrast layer to beef up the brightness and the contrast of the entire photo. And then finally, a Color Balance layer to add more blue into the photo. I use layers so I have more flexibility.

Photoshop rocks my world.

ps. Thank you to everyone for being so supportive of my blog. It’s very very very very kind and awesome of my family and friends to encourage me so actively. I am a lucky woman.

March 18th, 2011 | Photography | No Comments -

For Dad-in-Law

Matt and Spikey Baby Bear
27 February 2011

I’m afraid your son is being seduced by the Dark Side. Me and Spikey will own his soul eventually. Spikey’s cuteness will not be denied!

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!! 😉

February 28th, 2011 | General | No Comments -